Friday, August 26, 2011

Fleetwood Mac: Gold Dust Woman

Here’s one you don’t hear much anymore – Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” the flipside of “You Make Lovin’ Fun.” It was a double female single as the “A” side was a Christine McVie vehicle, while “Gold Dust Woman” is pure Stevie Nicks. I had this picked out for today before I saw that Stevie Nicks was going to be performing on “Good Morning America” today.

I never got to see Fleetwood Mac in concert, but I saw Stevie Nicks during her “Bella Donna” tour in 1982. While my seats weren’t the best in the world (it was a last minute decision to go), I could still experience Stevie in all of her wardrobe glory. I swear that she did more costume changes that night than Imelda Marcos had shoes.

The song was featured on their best selling album “Rumors” from 1977. “Rumours” was not only a #1 record in the English speaking world – it was certified 19 times platinum in the US, 13 times platinum in Australia, and 11 times platinum in the UK.

The album produced four singles in the US and the worst that any of them performed was the pre-album release of “Go Your Own Way”/”Silver Spring” that charted at #10. “You Make Lovin’ Fun,” the fourth and final single from “Rumours,” peaked at #9.

It’s a great song – of course most of anything Stevie Nicks does is good, but it is not her performance that seals the deal for me. It is Mick Fleetwood’s drumming (and cowbell) and the overlaying of guitars by Lindsey Buckingham. One guitar is processed through a phase shifter with the sweep turned down to a real slow setting. I wonder how many guitar parts are layered on this cut – it’s impossible for me to count.

As for Stevie’s vocals, Mick Fleetwood related that it took her eight takes to get the vocals right. According to his book My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood described Nicks’ demeanor during the early morning session as she was “hunched over in a chair, alternately choosing from her supply of tissues, a Vicks inhaler, a box of lozenges for her sore throat, and a bottle of mineral water.”

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